Face2Face Awards’ Creative Director Shares Her Makeup Artist Milestones, Plus Tips for Emerging Talent

Isabelle De Vries has been named as Face2Face Awards’ Creative Director for a second year. Ahead of Beauty Expo 2024, the makeup artist shares her inspirational story and advice with Hannah Gay.

Why makeup artistry?

Isabelle, tell us about your career as a makeup artist.

“I’ve been a lover of fashion and art as far back as I remember. I started in makeup some 10+ years ago doing bridal/occasion makeup. I would always look at the makeup in magazines like Vogue and other creative editorials and wished I could create ‘something like that’, but didn’t think I could. Early in my career, someone showed me their entry in the Face2Face Awards. I got really excited and I said, ‘one day I want to enter them’.

Fast-forward a few years, I had never really shot anything creative before and opting to enter the awards pushed me outside my comfort zone as an artist. Though I didn’t place that year, it was a lot of fun. The following year, I entered again in the photographic category and came in as runner-up. I was so proud of the work that I created. Since others had then seen what I was capable of, people started to notice my work and my skill, [leading me to commence] work on several beauty campaigns. 

Isabelle De Vries

The third year I entered Face2Face I traveled from Perth to Sydney to enter the live competitions, as well as the photographic. I had worked hard on my skills as an artist over the years and had developed my own style. That year, I won the photographic, beauty editorial, and live fashion editorial categories, and came runner-up in the bridal category.

It felt amazing to see all my hard work pay off, and feel [this exposure] played a big part in launching what is now my career. I have since gone on to travel around the world hosting makeup masterclasses, being privileged enough to be invited as a guest artist in places like Lithuania and New York. I have worked with many amazing top makeup friends and had so many amazing opportunities. 

To this day, my favourite thing is to create content that inspires my viewers and teaches others what I love.”

What excites you most about professional makeup artistry?

“There are so many different types of makeup; it’s no different to any other art form. I love to push the boundaries of makeup. There’s nothing better than when a brand books you and says you have free reign to create whatever you want; that they just love your work and trust you. To sound cliche, the possibilities are endless.”

Working with Face2Face

I understand this is the second year you have worked with Face2Face as Creative Director. What drew you to taking on this role?

“Being a part of the Face2Face Awards myself, I have helped out and stayed involved over the years. It has continued to grow each year, and to be a supportive and encouraging environment for artists of all skill levels. There are no other competitions like this in Australia for artists; it is pretty special. Because these competitions played such a big part in launching my own career, when the opportunity arose, I knew it was something I wanted to be involved in. It was a huge honour to take the position.”

To this day, my favourite thing is to create content that inspires my viewers and teaches others what I love.”

What exactly does your role as Face2Face Creative Director involve?

“It’s a super exciting position, as each year I get to design the categories and themes. This can be really challenging, but it’s a lot of fun. I want artists entering to be inspired by the themes, while having themes be challenging and open to interpretation so that each artist can show their own artistic style. 

I also put together a panel of judges who are at the top of the game in the field. It is important to me that I have a range of artists from different styles and expertise of makeup to create a fair judging panel.

There are a lot of other things happening behind-the-scenes, like planning the running of the competitions, designing the competition, and advertisement and floor layouts. 

It’s something I really enjoy doing. I want to make it something special each year that artists around Australia look forward to.”

Becoming an award-winning makeup artist

You’re a multi-award winning makeup artist, having won multiple Face2Face awards in the past. Why enter industry awards such as this?

“The Face2Face Awards are an open competition, which means artists from all skill levels are free to enter. There are some exceptional artists out there who are yet to be discovered; we quite often see artists who are very new to the industry with exceptional talent come and take out the competition.

Entering competitions is challenging as an artist as it pushes you outside your comfort zone, but there’s nothing that beats working under pressure; I think it gives us all a bit of an adrenaline rush. One of the great things about the Face2Face Awards is our judging panel. All artists that enter the competition have the opportunity to receive constructive criticism and feedback on their work from some of the industry’s leading artists. I know for myself, this was huge and can really help an artist to grow. 

We have the opportunity to network with other artists from around Australia. This can open up job opportunities in the future; I know it did for me. And most of all, it is so much fun and such an amazing atmosphere at Beauty Expo. There’s always a crowd watching on as the artists work. Our photographic category in particular has drawn many high-profile artists over the years and has become a much-desired title to win.”

Advice to makeup artists

What will this year’s line-up of judges be looking for from entrants into the Face2Face Awards?

“We are looking for artists that have carefully designed their looks to match the brief of the chosen category, while creating a look that is innovative and unique. We are looking for well-executed makeup applications with an attention to detail. 

If you’re thinking about entering, make sure you check out our competition brochure available on the Beauty Expo website. It has all of the information you need to know about entering the competitions and how to prepare and what to expect.”

Any advice you can pass on to emerging makeup artists based on your own experience?

“If you’re doubting yourself, stop. If you’re nervous, that’s okay; it’s important to always have fun while challenging yourself. 

It’s not all about winning – it’s about growing and developing your artistry. Stop trying to copy and replicate others’ work. Find your niche, your style, and be true to yourself. Then, it’s time to knuckle down and finetune your skills. No matter how long you have been an artist, you should always be learning and developing your craft. Some of the best artists in the world that I know are the most humble and most willing to learn from others.

Sometimes we stuff up, sometimes we get it wrong. Thankfully it’s only makeup – we can wipe it off and start over. Practice practice practice!”

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